We go through suffering many times a day, on a daily basis, week after week in silence. Perhaps so often, that we feel disconnected and unscathed by the suffering we are constantly bombarded within a healthcare setting where death, dying, pain and loss are all “normal”.
Often, we may feel like we are losing ourselves. We struggle to see who we are or who we want to be, we struggle to complete even the simplest of tasks. The minutiae of mundane activities like trying to remember what we need from the grocery store, or remembering a loved one’s birthday, or even executing basic life necessities like food prep suddenly has a layer of complexity added as a filter. Thoughts cloud our minds especially irrational ones – we imagine a future that is not in reality and we
may feel anxious over this perceived sense of our life unfolding before us.
Have you ever felt like a wave has hit you and you’re struggling to catch your breath, to regain control? Have you felt almost washed out to sea, that fear you’ll never be able to return to shore? Thoughts reach your mind but there are no words to convey them, living day by day is not an option with the suffering you’ve endured. Those that have been through trauma in their lives will understand this unique feeling. The feeling of the trauma being locked heavily into your chest, it almost feels like you need to breathe the trauma out but you can’t seem to release it. That deep pitting sensation inside your chest and stomach… it crushes you.
There are unique types of trauma that change us forever: grief, bereavement, relationship breakdowns and the direct fear of losing your life or someone close to you. The person you once were before your patient died, the person you once were before your marriage broke down and the person you once were before you witnessed the most traumatic scene in the ER, while you stood by helplessly. You were different before it happened and
now you are a totally new person afterwards. You recognise the old you but the new you is wiser and the path is to either learn from the trauma or live it. Be better, or be bitter, the choice is up to you.
We cannot eat/drink our way out of the trauma, exercise it out, avoid the suffering entirely or delay it. However, we can learn to feel it, to fully process our thoughts, feelings and emotions on the experiences we have had. Maybe it brings out a lot of other feelings from our previous traumas and we relive all of those experiences over and over and over again. We remember that childhood friend that we lost years ago or the pet dog who went ‘missing’. We remember loss that was personal to us and begin to understand why grief feels like an echo chamber when we work in a hospital every day. Whilst feeling vulnerable is uncomfortable and we want to shake it off, avoid it and close the chapter of vulnerability, the only way to heal it is to feel it.
So, you begin to feel the suffering and trauma, you go over the events over and over again until they become less powerful each day and slowly you start to find you. Life has changed you, you are different but stronger and wiser as each day passes. You’ve felt the trauma, analysed it and you’ve begun to process it in your own way, in your own time and find that new beginning… a silver lining at the end of a long journey of patience, kindness and acceptance. Resist the urge to resist these powerful and unsettling feelings because these are making us wiser and creating a beautiful path ahead of us.
Remember, the only way to heal it, is to feel it.